Justice Minister plans to repeal ‘3 strikes’ law

New Minister of Justice Andrew Little plans on repealing the ‘3 strikes’ law that has been one of ACT Party’s few big policy successes. It came into effect in 2010 largely due to the efforts of David Garrett, who struck out himself, failing to last a term.

Newstalk ZB:  Three strikes and it’s out: Labour scrapping controversial law

The three strikes law is itself to be struck out.

Justice Minister Andrew Little said it has had no impact on making the country any safer.

Under the law, judges must impose the maximum sentence on anyone that commits a third violent or serious sexual crime.

Little said there are better ways to prevent crime.

“Make sure that our correction system is doing the job we need to do, which is to change the people who have been anti-social, who have committed crimes, and stop them from doing that. In the end, that’s the way you make people safe,” he said.

Little plans to start the three strikes repeal by the middle of next year.

It will be interesting to see if the Government just repeals the law, or if they introduce different guidelines or law on sentencing.

New Zealand has one of the highest imprisonment rates inn the developed world.

I don’t recall Labour campaigning on repealing ‘3 strikes’, but last year Jacinda Ardern  described it as “an ugly piece of law” – Jacinda v David: Three-strikes law is no home run:

Last week a piece of legislation from 2010 reached a milestone – the first offender was sentenced under the three-strikes legislation.

You may remember this law. It was fairly controversial at the time, and was one of the ACT Party’s babies. David Garrett was the champion of the bill, and having now exited Parliament it was David Seymour who has been left to defend what I can only describe as an ugly piece of law.

I don’t use those words lightly, but when you have a combination of bad law, coupled with populism, I just don’t know what else you can call it. And that’s exactly what three strikes is.

Let’s be absolutely clear though. No one is for a moment implying that if you commit multiple offences that it shouldn’t be taken into account. But judges already have to consider previous convictions as an aggravating factor when they hand down a sentence.

All that the three strikes legislation did was remove the discretion they had over how they factored that in. And examples like this recent case highlight how clumsy the law now is as a result.

The ugly part, of course, is that a law like ‘three strikes’ sounds good – like we’re sending a hard message and that we will all be safer as a result. But what do you do when the evidence shows that that’s not what this law does? Do you fly in the face of facts and evidence just because of the perception? I’d like to believe Parliament is better than that, perhaps it’s time to show it.

So while not promoted as a core policy, and I can’t find any reference to it on the Labour policy website it looks like Parliament is going to strike out  ‘3 strikes’.

Here are the latest Three strikes statistics.

 

42 Comments

  1. Trevors_elbow

     /  November 1, 2017

    Every thug who kills or maims, who would have received sentences under 3 strikes providions, who kills or maims after the repeal when they would have been locked away under 3 strikes will be Andys responsibilities…..

    [deleted, inferring a derogatory name – PG] Killers I dub them…. blood on his hands

  2. david in aus

     /  November 1, 2017

    Not many parties make their own noose. Once one of these criminals under the three strikes rules commits a heinous crime enabled by Labour, it is open season. As night follows day, the Soft-on-Crime reputation will stick like dags on Labour.

    • PDB

       /  November 1, 2017

      Totally agree, crime was barely mentioned in the election campaign but no doubt it will be one of the major issues the new govt will be bashed with come the 2020 election.

  3. Alan Wilkinson

     /  November 1, 2017

    “bad law, coupled with populism” pretty much describes Labour’s policy manifesto.

  4. Blazer

     /  November 1, 2017

    most reasonable people can see the 3 strikes rule is fraught with injustice.

    • PDB

       /  November 1, 2017

      It appears to be working as intended when you look at the figures – only 1 third strike for each of the last two years when around 1000 people a year are receiving first and final warnings.

    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  November 1, 2017

      Why? It has an option for judges to ignore it if they believe it would cause injustice and they have been using it.

      • Nobody wants to have prisoners doing long stretches for minor crimes, But Andrew Little’s logic seems fatally flawed.

        • Sponge

           /  November 1, 2017

          Kitty, if it is a burglar convicted for the 40th time I for one am quite happy to see them do 10 years.

          • I said minor crimes. It seems a poor use of taxpayer’s money to keep someone in jail for 10 years-which would cost more than $750,000 for stealing a bicycle helmet or something else that is hardly a major crime..

            There seems to be an idea out there that the 3 Strikes would mean massive sentences for trivial crimes. It wouldn’t. It’s for violent crimes.

            One could say that the few people who have been on the receiving end shows that it’s working as a deterrent.

          • Blazer

             /  November 3, 2017

            yes but thats ..40 strikes..not 3.

      • Blazer

         /  November 2, 2017

        So it is not law then?

  5. David

     /  November 1, 2017

    NZ First will be particularly vulnerable and given how many bottom lines Winston has given away he can ill afford to burn off totally his voters who are a bit miffed already they cant give their children a smack. Be surprised if he votes for this.

    • PDB

       /  November 1, 2017

      Didn’t NZL First vote against the law?

      • David

         /  November 1, 2017

        Probably and because it was proposed by their sworn enemies in Act. Winston is going to be voting for a lot of policies his base wont like so be a little dumb to lose support so a murderer/rapist gets a shorter sentence.

        • Yes, that does seem a little bizarre-to say the least.

          I can’t see the Blue Rinse Brigade wanting the 3 Strikes to go.

          It’s up to the criminals themselves to avoid a long sentence.

  6. David

     /  November 1, 2017

    Ardern is going to have to impose some discipline really quickly as her Ministers run around talking repeal this and repeal that without a mandate given she came a distant 2nd and her position is, despite media adulation, quite tenuous…its at Winstons whim.

    • Ardern’s Government is going gangbusters, chucking out all the dross left behind by the retreating National (now Opposition) Party.
      It’s impressive and beyond all expectations; wonder what’s coming next? I thought Key acted swiftly when he first got in but Ardern’s making him look sluggish!

  7. robertguyton

     /  November 1, 2017

    Better batten down the hatches, PDB, all your favourite things are soon going to be lying outside in the rain!

    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  November 1, 2017

      Make the most of your chance to wreck things, Robert. You’ll be staring down the barrel of another decade on the sidelines as soon as NZ figures out what you’ve done.

      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  November 1, 2017

        … I guess that will give you time to grow another generation of ignorant young voters though.

    • PDB

       /  November 1, 2017

      Best you stick to things you might be good at Robert….like feeding the chickens…

  8. Labour are proving that being shit at opposition carries over into being shit at governing. If it isn’t in the coalition agreement, they will still need Peters to sign off on everything, and he will not appreciate Ministers mouthing off without consulting him first.

    They’re acting like they have a majority, but that’s something they only possess with two other loser parties. These next three years are going to be one giant fustercluck.

    • Blazer

       /  November 2, 2017

      they do have a majority ,thats a fact,thats why they are Govt.Another who got a crystal ball from the $2 shop.

  9. patupaiarehe

     /  November 1, 2017

    I agree that ‘three strikes’ is BS. Some individuals should be incarcerated for life, after their first offence. Take Tony Robertson, for example. After abducting a prepubescent child for sexual purposes, and being caught with her next to him with her pants removed, he was sentenced on “What actually happened, not what might have”. If the dud judge who sentenced him had done his job right, ‘Blessie’ would still be alive & well…

    • One can never say ‘what if’, and people can only be sentenced for what they did, not what they MIGHT have done.

      • patupaiarehe

         /  November 1, 2017

        Well pardon me for saying so Kitty, but doesn’t abducting a child, and taking them to a remote area, show intent to do something more than what he was caught doing?

        • Kitty Catkin

           /  November 2, 2017

          Intent, yes, but thank goodness he was caught before he did anything that time. He would have been sentenced for what he did do, I suppose, which was bad enough.

          • patupaiarehe

             /  November 2, 2017

            Which unfortunately led to him being released, just before he had to be, so that corrections could impose conditions on him. They knew he was a bad bastard, but had to act within the law. Unfortunately he ran over a defenceless woman, shortly after his release, and subjected her to the grossest of indecencies before ‘finishing her off’. And no amount of ‘hand wringing’ will bring her back. The bastard should have been given preventative detention the first time.

            • patupaiarehe

               /  November 2, 2017

              This same individual attempted to appeal his sentence in the second case, because he couldn’t have been guilty of rape if she was already dead. FFS!

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  November 3, 2017

              Alas, one cannot act upon something that someone hasn’t done…and he hadn’t done a murder. He was under surveillance, wasn’t he ? But human error is everywhere.

              I really hated the way that the ghouls of the press went into every detail of Blessie Gotingco’s ordeal. It was the ultimate invasion of her privacy, it was treated like a television drama in a sickening way. Who would want the whole world to hear all that about themselves ? Or about their wife, mother, sister…? There is far too much detail broadcast, I believe. Give the victim some privacy and treat them with dignity.

  10. Zedd

     /  November 1, 2017

    If the courts/judges are doing their jobs, you dont need a ‘3 strike law’. They should be sentencing according to the laws & circumstances. Just because USA does this, doesn’t mean we have to follow, like sheep.

    I hear many first offenders, prison inmates are; either/or uneducated & drug users. Maybe its time they actually got past this outdated draconian thinking.. arrest, prosecute & punish/lock up. Maybe they should focus of education & drug treatment (fence at top of the cliff) as the first option ?!

    • Gezza

       /  November 1, 2017

      I’m prepared to give it a go if the first lot all get bailed to YOUR street, Zedd? 😳

      • patupaiarehe

         /  November 1, 2017

        Please bail them to my street, just for shits and giggles. My gangster neighbours would have them begging to go back to prison, before I even got started on them 😀

      • Zedd

         /  November 2, 2017

        no worries Gezza.. Im sure released inmates, maybe live in a street near most of us already..
        btw; If they dealt with the drivers of crime (poverty, lack of education, drug ‘offending’ etc.) as the priority, rather than just ‘cleaning up the mess’ afterwards (prison).. the prison population would be much lower & the cost to tax-payer would be too ?! :/

        …. just saying; maybe it is time for a total rethink, under this new Govt. not just the same tired tory nonsense

  11. Conspiratoor

     /  November 2, 2017

    “Each of those 216 guys on a final strike are dangerous, repeat, violent offenders who belong in jail, and they are doing more time than they were before”

    andrew little “focus will be on the drivers of crime and helping prisoners who can be rehabilitated”

    Anyone on andy’s side here?

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11939273